You Are the Reason Your Team Can’t Make Decisions

“Why can’t my team handle anything without me?”

This is a question I hear a lot in my work with credit union leaders and through credit union strategic planning events. It’s a question and frustration many leaders deal with but there’s a question behind that question.

“What is holding my team back from being able to take action without my input?” There’s a reason your team can’t handle anything without you.

Typically, two reasons surface with my credit union strategic planning and other clients when I witness this frustration from the leaders:

  1. Micromanaging and fear. When one of your team members makes a decision, you immediately step in because it’s not the way you would do it. I speak from experience. I used to have the very best way of doing things and wanted my team members to do it exactly like me. Until I realized that the outcome is what matters most and not the route to arrive at that outcome. There’s also fear instilled in your culture based on how you respond when someone makes the wrong decision. Instead of treating it as a learning opportunity, you immediately scold the team member for their failure. That’s a quick way to build a team full of paralyzed houseplants that can’t move without your direction.
  • Lack of alignment. It’s difficult to make a good decision when there is no clarity around your credit union’s brand, what your mission is, and your long-term vision and short-term goals. In the most recent alignment of our purpose, mission and vision, I found our team much more capable of making good decisions when they have something to base it on. When people know why the organization exists, they can use that as a quick litmus test for “yes or no,” because they have the goal in mind.

If your team cannot or does not have the autonomy to move forward without your input 100% of the time, your credit union will not grow. It will be stuck where it is and only grow as fast as you can move. And if you find yourself stuck in task saturation, putting out the fires of the day, you’ll never have the opportunity to get to strategy and leadership.

There is one thing you can start doing right now to help your team make good decisions without you having to step in. Ask, “What do you think you should do?”

This was a game changer for our team. I found that often their answer was better than what mine would have been, and sometimes their answer is a chance to teach.

Credit union strategic planning season is just around the corner.

When you’re ready, let’s talk!

From strat plans to rebrands, YMC President and CEO, Bo, is passionate about helping financial institutions come up with a winning formula. If you’re ready to go beyond the SWOT, you can email him at

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